'Working hard' is secret to long life

ROSEMARY MCLENNAN
Last updated 10:20 05/12/2012
05-UHL-LRickardcropped.jpg
ROSEMARY McLENNAN
Happy 100: Upper Hutt’s newest centenarian, Lisa Rickard.

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Upper Hutt Leader

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Working hard at a job you like is Lisa Rickard's secret to a long life.

Upper Hutt's newest centenarian turned 100 last Friday.

But she can also claim longevity is in her genes.

Her father lived to 93 and a cousin, to 97.

Mrs Rickard was born Lisa Molander in the south of India on November 30, 1912.

Her Swedish father Oscar and English mother Clara were Salvation Army missionaries in India.

Mrs Molander had met his future wife when he moved to England to join the church.

It was there they met General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army.

They married and moved to India where their children were born and grew up.

Daughter Lisa, a teacher, married Fred Rickard whose British parents lived and worked in India.

Lisa and Fred Rickard had three children, all born in India.

But they had to leave India after World War II ended. They moved to England, but food there was still rationed and the future was bleak.

So Mr Rickard, who had been in the Indian army, applied to join the New Zealand Army and was accepted. He moved here, followed by his wife and children.

They settled in the army camp at Mangaroa.

There was a teacher shortage and Mrs Rickard soon found work at Mangaroa School.

After the family moved to Fergusson Dr, Mrs Rickard taught at Fraser Crescent School where her pupils included future mayor Wayne Guppy. She also taught at Oxford Crescent School for about 15 years until retirement.

Mrs Rickard has lived in rest homes for about five years; the past three months, in the rest home section of Fergusson Rest Home and Hospital. Although her memory, hearing and eyesight are failing, she otherwise keeps good health and enjoys outings in the village van.

She speaks English, Swedish and Hindi and regularly speaks Hindi with several of the resthome's Indian staff.

Mrs Rickard's three children are Vera Rabbitt (Upper Hutt), Brian Rickard and Michael Rickard (both Australia).

She has 10 grandchildren including city councillor Dean Rabbitt, and seven great grandchildren.

Her family and friends celebrated with a party at Fergusson on Friday, and guests included Mayor Guppy.

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- Upper Hutt Leader

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